High prevalence of bedbugs Cimex hemipterus and Cimex lectularis in camps for internally displaced persons in Freetown, Sierra Leone: A pilot humanitarian investigation

  • AA Gbakima Department of Biology, Spencer Hall G12, School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Morgan State University, 1700 E. Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore, Maryland 21251, USA.,
  • BC Terry Department of Community Health, University of Sierra Leone, P. M. Bag, Freetown, Sierra Leone.
  • F Kanja Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Youyi Building, Brookfields, Freetown, Sierra Leone
  • S Kortequee College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, University of Sierra Leone, P. M. Bag, Freetown, Sierra Leone
  • I Dukuley College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, University of Sierra Leone, P. M. Bag, Freetown, Sierra Leone
  • F Sahr Department of Microbiology, College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, University of Sierra Leone, P. M. Bag, Freetown, Sierra Leone
Keywords: Bedbugs, Climex hemiptera, Cimex lectularis, Internally displaced persons, Camps, Sierra Leone

Abstract

The prevalence of bedbugs Cimex hemipera and C. lectularis was investigated in camps for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Two hundred and thirty eight rooms were searched during the day and at night, and 233 (98%) of those rooms in 30 booths were infested with different life cycle stages of bedbugs. There hundred and ninety-eight (68%) of the bedbugs were adults, 145 (24.8%) were nymphs of various instars, and 41 (7%) were clusters of eggs. Significantly (P>0.05) more bedbugs were recovered during the night inspections 64.6% as compared to 35.4% during the day inspections. In addition, more adult bedbugs were recovered at night than during the day, a manifestation of their peak feeding period. Of the total of 570 adults and nymphs collected and identified, 320 (56.1%) and 250 (43.9%) were Cimex lectularis and Cimex hemipterus respectively. Clinical examination of 221 individuals living in the booths during 3 consecutive weeks of examinations and treatment for conditions suggestive of bedbug infestation (bites and skin reactions as well as treatments for other health and medical conditions) showed that 196 (86%) had wheals as a direct result of bedbug bites. The data of this pilot humanitarian investigation shows a high prevalence of bedbug infestation in these displacement camps. It is recommended that some control measures be instituted, like residual insecticide application along with integrating control methods within the primary health care system, because bedbugs are a source of great irritation and sleepless nights that could lead to stress.

Keywords: Bedbugs, Climex hemiptera, Cimex lectularis, Internally displaced persons, Camps, Sierra Leone.

Résumé

La prevalence de punaises «Cimex hemiptera» et «Co lectularis» a été étudiee dans des camps de personnes deplaces a l'interieur de Freetown en Sierra Leone. Deux cent trente huit salles ont été examines de jour et denuit et 233 (98%) de ces salles dans 30 baraques étaient infestes de Punaises avec differents niveau de cycle de vie. Trois cent quatre ving dix huit (68%) des punaises étaient adultes, cent quarante cinq (24.80%) étaient des nymphes de divers niveau de development et 41 (7%) etaient des groupes d'oeufs. On a decouvert de maniere significative plus de punaise pendant les infections nocturnes soit 64.6% que dans la journee soit 35.4%. En outre, davantage d'adultes ont ete trouves de nuit que de jour, une manifestation de leur periode de pointe. Sur un total de 570 adultes collectes et identifies, 320 (65.1%) et 250 (43.9%) etaient respectivement des «Cimex lectularis» et Cimex hemipterus». L'examen clinique de 221 invidious vivant dans les camps pendant les 3 semaines consecutives d'examen et de traitement pour conditions faisant suite a une infestation de punaises (piqures et reactions cutanees aussi bien que traitements pour autres problemes medicaux et de sante) a montre que 196 (89%) avaient des froments comme resultat direct de piqures de parasites. Les donnees de cette investigation humanitaire pilote montrent une haute prevalence d'infestation de punaises dans ces camps. On recommande d'instituer certaines mesures de controle, telles que l'application residuelle d'insecticide en même temp que l'integration de methodes de controle dans le systeme de soins de sante primaire, car les punaises sont une source de grande irritation et de nuits sans sommeil qui pourraient conduire au stress.

West African Journal of Medicine Vol.21(4) 2002: 268-271
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